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Author Topic:   The Koala, Lamark and Epigenetics
LamarkNewAge
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Posts: 871
Joined: 12-22-2015
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 16 of 43 (774899)
12-24-2015 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by NoNukes
12-24-2015 12:29 PM


Re: Perhaps the lactose issue wasn't a good one.
quote:

LamarkNewAge
I think of the brain as possibly being similar to a floppy disc where information can be learned in life then passed on to generations.

NoNukes
In the case of mammals, there are plenty of more conventional methods for passing along information. Mammals tend to spend time hanging out with mama which means that behavioral information can be passed on by teaching/learning.

Assuming a brain is a floppy disk, what part of that disk could possible be passed on genetically or even via epigenetics? What is the mechanism?


It seems that there are non-DNA expressions at work.

I have been thinking of using the example of a human breeding foxes so that by the 26th generation, all in a breed we able to respond to the "sit" command when none could at first. But Darwinian theory supporters will just say the genetic information "was there to start with" or some DNA change (or some "standard theory" change) can be explained.

Will we still be saying that 100 years from now?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by NoNukes, posted 12-24-2015 12:29 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15948
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 17 of 43 (774901)
12-24-2015 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 1:35 PM


Re: Perhaps the lactose issue wasn't a good one.
Will we still be saying that 100 years from now?

As we won't be alive 100 years from now, I suggest that what we should do in the present is affirm those views that are best supported by the data we've actually got.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 1:35 PM LamarkNewAge has not yet responded

  
LamarkNewAge
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Posts: 871
Joined: 12-22-2015
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 18 of 43 (774902)
12-24-2015 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Dr Adequate
12-24-2015 1:32 PM


Re: Perhaps the lactose issue wasn't a good one.
quote:

LamarkNewAge
(Lamarkian?) Epigenetics is far faster than the lone neo-Darwinian mechanism

Dr. Adequate
But an epigenetic hypothesis only defers the Darwinian question.

Epigenetic Lamarckism works like this, as I understand it. You have, external to the DNA, a switch, a toggle, affecting DNA expression. The position of the switch is inherited, but can be flipped as a response to the environment.

So, let's imagine an epigenetic explanation for the koala diet. What we would need is some sort of switch that toggles between eating like a wombat and eating like a koala, which is flipped into koala mode by some exterior stimulus such as, I dunno, smelling eucalyptus. OK, we now have a nice simple explanation for how and why koalas eat eucalyptus. But we have also saddled ourselves with rather difficult problem: how did the two dietary options and the switch between them evolve? So we haven't really made things any simpler.


I was thinking something more along the lines of the animals choosing to eat a narrow diet for like 7000 years(while still having the ability to digest thousands of things) but eventually loosing the ability to digest the other things at the end of the (say) 7000 year period. But not through mutations (at least not at first and possibly no mutations at all).

---

quote:

Dr. Adequate

Imagine an alien who thinks that humans are stupid. So when he finds a bicycle, he declares that it's way too sophisticated to have been designed and built by humans unaided. No, he explains, it must have been designed and built by some sort of industrial robot, and all the poor dumb humans did was perform the relatively simple task of pushing the big red ON button on the front of the robot --- and pushing buttons, he smugly explains, is well within their primitive capacities ...

Well, he hasn't made things any easier for himself, has he? Because now he needs to explain how those dumb humans who're too stupid to build a mere bicycle managed to produce the robot.


I think "learning" brings about self-organization at the biological level. Information is added then much of it gets lost in time. But DNA doesn't tell the whole story.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-24-2015 1:32 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-24-2015 8:11 PM LamarkNewAge has responded

    
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1549
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 19 of 43 (774904)
12-24-2015 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 1:19 PM


Re: Perhaps the lactose issue wasn't a good one.
Well, Lamark didn't have at his disposal knowledge of Gregor Mendel nor many other developments that came out long ago,

This is true and Mendel's discoveries were at the most rudimentary level that basically showed that there was a mechanism of inheritance but no details of what that mechanism was.

so a confirmation of raw-Lamark theory wouldn't exactly be expected.

What has been confirmed is the mechanisms of evolution. We have not seen characteristics acquired during the life of an organism being passed on to offspring except where there were events that exposed genes in germ cells to changes.

The theory of Erasmus Darwin? Lamark? Or any of the early founders pre-Charles Darwin?

I think there is a misunderstanding here. I am saying that the modern Theory of Evolution includes all the knowledge about biology we have today. It does not include theories that have been shown to be invalid and there have been no observations that have been shown to be valid that refute the ToE. Not one.

Even I wouldn't go that far but I still predict Lamark will carry the day!

I know people like to root for the underdog, but what do you mean by "carry the day?" Do you mean that evolutionary theory is going to be shown to be invalid? All of it? Part of it? Based on the discovery of epigenetics?

The koala and its digestion ability is the extraordinary issue here I am interested in.

Good, maybe you will discover how it came to the state it is in now.

I have never studied koala and its digestion ability, but I predict that you will find that koala ancestral species were not as specialized as they are now and that its specialization developed over many, many generations.

I was under the impression that the discovery of epigenetics has been something of a revelation and an ongoing horizon of great scientific intrigue.

It was a very interesting discovery and I am sure it will be an ongoing subject for research in the future.

I may be wrong, but my understanding is that epigenetics refers to changes to the developmental genes of offspring caused by environmental exposure by the parent. I also understand that this is not a permanent change to the genes subsequently inherited by future descendants.

If we are going to equate Lamarkian inheritance with epigenetics, then maybe we have to say that it only lasts a generation or two.

In the meantime epigenetics is incorporated in the evolutionary explanation of life as short-term genetic changes (mutations) that do not affect the long-term phylogenetics of a lineage.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 1:19 PM LamarkNewAge has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 2:47 PM Tanypteryx has responded

    
LamarkNewAge
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Posts: 871
Joined: 12-22-2015
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 20 of 43 (774906)
12-24-2015 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Tanypteryx
12-24-2015 2:23 PM


..
quote:

Tanypteryx
I think there is a misunderstanding here. I am saying that the modern Theory of Evolution includes all the knowledge about biology we have today. It does not include theories that have been shown to be invalid and there have been no observations that have been shown to be valid that refute the ToE. Not one.

People reading your posts will be confused about what I am actually saying. And that would be true even if you fully quoted me in context. It is even more true without in-context and complete quotes.

Anyway, the general issue of "evolution" I have not disputed. I'm just saying that a heck of a lot is still to be discovered. Disagree with that? Well, the chemistry-to-biology transition (i.e. origin of life and self-replicating peptide bonded amino acids type issues) doesn't even have a theory yet. So whatever hypothesis one picks, it will be monumentally revised once the discovery is finally made.

We can all agree on that. However, I would suggest that the biological evolution issue will also be subject to enormous revisions.

But many of my quotes centered around you changing the subject from the issue of general evolution to the issue of Lamarkian-type evolution to Darwinian evolution in a somewhat chaotic way.

Just thought I would clarify.

Edited by LamarkNewAge, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Tanypteryx, posted 12-24-2015 2:23 PM Tanypteryx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Tanypteryx, posted 12-24-2015 3:22 PM LamarkNewAge has not yet responded

    
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1549
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 21 of 43 (774908)
12-24-2015 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 2:47 PM


Re: ..
But many of my quotes centered around you changing the subject from the issue of general evolution to the issue of Lamarkian-type evolution to Darwinian evolution in a somewhat chaotic way.

Sorry I was not clear.....sitting in the car waiting for my wife to finish Xmas shopping.

I'm just saying that a heck of a lot is still to be discovered. Disagree with that?

Nope, I agree totally. That is the best part about science, it is never finished.

We can all agree on that. However, I would suggest that the biological evolution issue will also be subject to enormous revisions.

I agree that there are many discoveries still to be made in the field of evolutionary biology and they will be incorporated into the theory as they are understood.

If you mean by "subject to enormous revisions" that major parts of the ToE are going to be replaced, then I have to disagree.

The theory will be expanded in the future, but the principles that it is based on have been confirmed by many thousands (maybe millions) of observations and experiments. The theory makes predictions that have been confirmed.

In its entirety, the Theory of Biological Evolution is a description of all of biology. It does not consist of speculations unsupported by evidence or wild-assed guesses. It is a description of reality, or as close as we can get, because otherwise what use would it be?


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 2:47 PM LamarkNewAge has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by RAZD, posted 12-24-2015 4:33 PM Tanypteryx has acknowledged this reply

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 43 (774909)
12-24-2015 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 1:35 PM


Re: Perhaps the lactose issue wasn't a good one.
It seems that there are non-DNA expressions at work.

You have not described this seeming.

I have been thinking of using the example of a human breeding foxes so that by the 26th generation, all in a breed we able to respond to the "sit" command when none could at first. But Darwinian theory supporters will just say the genetic information "was there to start with" or some DNA change (or some "standard theory" change) can be explained.

But you know better, right?


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


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RAZD
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Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 23 of 43 (774911)
12-24-2015 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Tanypteryx
12-24-2015 3:22 PM


Re: .. new theory ...
... I agree that there are many discoveries still to be made in the field of evolutionary biology and they will be incorporated into the theory as they are understood. ...

Building on what has gone before ... Darwin's theory of origin of species via natural selection has not been invalidated, rather it has been expandedas we know more. Mendle's genetics was not known by Darwin, but were incorporated as the explanation of variation that were observed. With the melding with genetics in the 50's.

Any new theory will need to explain all the evidence currdntly explained by the ToE - it will default to the current explanation for that evidence - and thenprovide testable predictions for new evidence. That is how science works.

So far I see no testable proposition for a neo-Lamarkism as discussed here. Or any reason to consider one.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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RAZD
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Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 24 of 43 (774912)
12-24-2015 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by NoNukes
12-24-2015 12:29 PM


learned behavior aka memes
In the case of mammals, there are plenty of more conventional methods for passing along information. Mammals tend to spend time hanging out with mama which means that behavioral information can be passed on by teaching/learning.

Indeed, and if such teaching/learning fails in one generation, it is lost.

Without laguage such things can only be taugh through demonstration.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by NoNukes, posted 12-24-2015 12:29 PM NoNukes has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1549
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


(1)
Message 25 of 43 (774913)
12-24-2015 5:08 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by RAZD
12-24-2015 4:43 PM


Re: learned behavior aka memes
In the case of mammals, there are plenty of more conventional methods for passing along information. Mammals tend to spend time hanging out with mama which means that behavioral information can be passed on by teaching/learning.

Indeed, and if such teaching/learning fails in one generation, it is lost.

Without language such things can only be taught through demonstration.

Birds do a lot of training also, and apparently with some birds like crows and parrots vocalization is also involved.

I am most fascinated by complex behaviors that are programmed into the genes of insects. They seem to work as cascade effects where a stimulus triggers a series sensory signals and behaviors. Many of these behaviors seem to be similar to complex "if > then" loops in computer programs. When I am in the field with other Odonatists we endlessly discuss dragonfly behavior and how it is programmed.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by RAZD, posted 12-24-2015 4:43 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
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LamarkNewAge
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Posts: 871
Joined: 12-22-2015
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 26 of 43 (774914)
12-24-2015 5:56 PM


Learn from momma? Or (recently)wired in epigenetic instinct?
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/...cause-epigenetics

quote:

Mice Inherit Specific Memories, Because Epigenetics?
Posted Sun, 12/1/2013

Two weeks ago I wrote about some tantalizing research coming out of the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Brian Dias, a postdoctoral fellow in Kerry Ressler’s lab at Emory University, had reported that mice inherit specific smell memories from their fathers — even when the offspring have never experienced that smell before, and even when they’ve never met their father. What’s more, their children are born with the same specific memory.

This was a big, surprising claim, causing many genetics experts to do a double-take, as I discovered from a subsequent flurry of Tweets. “Crazy Lamarkian shit,” quipped Laura Hercher (@laurahercher), referring to Lamarckian inheritance, the largely discredited theory that says an organism can pass down learned behaviors or traits to its offspring. “My instinct is deep skepticism, but will have to wait for paper to come out,” wrote Kevin Mitchell (@WiringTheBrain). “If true, would be revolutionary.”

The paper is out today in Nature Neuroscience, showing what I reported before as well as the beginnings of an epigenetic explanation. (Epigenetics usually refers to chemical changes that affect gene expression without altering the DNA code).

Having the data in hand allowed me to fill in the backstory of the research, as well as gather more informed reactions from experts in neuroscience and in genetics. I’ve gone into a lot of detail below, but here’s the bottom line: The behavioral results are surprising, solid, and will certainly inspire further studies by many other research groups. The epigenetic data seems gauzy by comparison, with some experts saying it’s thin-but-useful and others finding it full of holes.



MORE (much more in link)

This study took great care to implement controls to preclude the possibility of social transmission. This study could indicate biological programming based on acquired characteristics.


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LamarkNewAge
Member
Posts: 871
Joined: 12-22-2015
Member Rating: 1.3


(1)
Message 27 of 43 (774915)
12-24-2015 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 5:56 PM


Re: Learn from momma? Or (recently)wired in epigenetic instinct?
https://www.google.com/...memory+epigenetics+lamark+evidence

Here is a google link (I didn't check the "news" part yet) to web hits based on this.

EDIT (here is top "news" item link and it is interesting)
http://www.evolutionnews.org/...8/epigenetic_chan098671.html

(here is other 2015 story in "news" under my search words above
http://www.theguardian.com/...a-passed-on-to-childrens-genes

This is the best "evidence" I have so don't expect much else from me lol.

Thanks to the posters who responded to me so far. Much appreciated. God bless EVC and the great posters. I hope this great site lasts another 15 years.

FINAL EDIT I found that Seed magazine (website) I subscribed to from around 2005-2008 (no longer in print I'm sorry to say) but the c. 2006 article isn't there. I think this 2009 article is from the same author though. It is very similar. I really appreciated the 2006 article because it was the first time I saw scientific evidence for Lamarkian views that I always suspected were true since I was in my early teens. I never thought I would see the day!
http://seedmagazine.com/...nt/article/extending_darwinism/P2

Edited by LamarkNewAge, : "news" link

Edited by LamarkNewAge, : No reason given.


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 Message 26 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 5:56 PM LamarkNewAge has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15948
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 28 of 43 (774917)
12-24-2015 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 1:46 PM


Re: Perhaps the lactose issue wasn't a good one.
I was thinking something more along the lines of the animals choosing to eat a narrow diet for like 7000 years(while still having the ability to digest thousands of things) but eventually loosing the ability to digest the other things at the end of the (say) 7000 year period.

Well, it would involve not just a loss but a gain, since eucalyptus leaves are toxic to most animals --- wombats couldn't eat them even if they could climb trees. So what you need is an epigenetic system where the switches for "eat grass" and "eat roots" and "eat sedge" and so on get switched to OFF, while a pre-existing switch for "be able to eat eucalyptus without dying" gets switched to ON.

Well, my point is that it's not simpler to postulate the evolution of this array of options and switches, and then the switches being flipped, than it is to postulate an ordinary Darwinian mechanism for wombats evolving to eat eucalyptus. But greater simplicity was, so far as I can see, your only reason for postulating epigenetic mechanisms in the first place.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 1:46 PM LamarkNewAge has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 8:47 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
LamarkNewAge
Member
Posts: 871
Joined: 12-22-2015
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 29 of 43 (774918)
12-24-2015 8:47 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Dr Adequate
12-24-2015 8:11 PM


You noticed my weak responce. lol
Your question was complex and my response was simple to be sure. (I was ashamed of such a sorry response, at the time of posting, and you quoted the paragraph of my greatest shame in this thread)

SIDE NOTE.

I also must admit that I have been partly motivated by New Age type of issues. I have had a vague exposure to Hindu and Zoroastrian ideas (heaven, hell, judgment day, afterlife)for a long time but never have really studied the issues much. The language of the Gathas and Vedas are dated from 1500-1800 BCE and are the oldest Indo-European texts. The Zoroastrians have a New Age type of situation (in texts later than the Gathas but before 2 Isaiah and Daniel) where man stops eating meat, then plants, then water. Then the 3000 year Judgment Day begins (Revelation 20 is pure Zoroastrian, right down to the detail of Satan/ Angra Mainyu being thrown in the pit with the evil angels for 1000 years though it is 3000 in Zoroastrian). An evolution into spiritual creatures comes first then Judgment Day. Isaiah 40-48 and later chapters take the New Age evolution concept and Daniel even has a resurrection in the Hebrew Bible (The conservative Jewish Temple authorities didn't consider Daniel to be a Prophet but just "wisdom literature" and the definitive statements against a resurrection outnumbered the lone exception so the conservative Sadducees considered the Pharisees to be Persians or Zoroastrian/Jewish hybrids in their acceptance of the resurrection ).

The 7000 year cycle of Zoroastrians before Judgment Day (involving vegetarian stages) was partly on my mind lol. But the issue of not being able to digest meat was no more prominent in my thinking than the roughly 7000 years of the gain in ability to digest lactose (gut bacteria might play a role I suppose but I'm not big on the scientific details as I'm just not up to speed, so my responses on the exact way and mechanisms I will avoid).

On the science side, I have LONG felt that memories (especially traumatic ones, but not only) can be hard-wired into a species. Perhaps even before I was a teenager. And I admit that it was "simple, common sense" hunch but perhaps partly based on observation of animals.

I just never expected that there would be such decent evidence coming in from the scientific side. Honestly, I was just amazed almost 10 years ago when I saw that Seed article. Previously, I automatically wrote off, in my mind, any slight look at "new age" type of evidence. I just didn't think it would get 1 second of coverage by serious scientists though I felt it should.

I'm still in shock.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-24-2015 8:11 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-24-2015 9:24 PM LamarkNewAge has responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15948
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


(1)
Message 30 of 43 (774920)
12-24-2015 9:24 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by LamarkNewAge
12-24-2015 8:47 PM


Re: You noticed my weak responce. lol
I just never expected that there would be such decent evidence coming in from the scientific side. Honestly, I was just amazed almost 10 years ago when I saw that Seed article. Previously, I automatically wrote off, in my mind, any slight look at "new age" type of evidence. I just didn't think it would get 1 second of coverage by serious scientists though I felt it should.

Well, I don't think anyone now doubts that there are epigenetic effects which could be loosely described as Lamarckian. But that doesn't give us warrant to point to a particular thing (like the koala diet) and say that in that case it's Lamarckian --- not without some sort of positive evidence of an epigenetic mechanism. Nor does it particularly strengthen the case for the inheritance of complex memories --- just because that would be Lamarckian, and Lamarckian things happen, that's not a particularly good reason to believe in it; just as the existence of green objects is not a terribly good reason to believe in green giraffes.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 8:47 PM LamarkNewAge has responded

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 Message 31 by LamarkNewAge, posted 12-24-2015 9:56 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
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